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Distribution Software - PDA
Every distributor (retailer with a warehouse) would like streamline the distribution process, lower costs, and improve order fulfillment accuracy. However, achieving these types of operational efficiencies can be elusive. This is especially the case for larger distributors with extensive product lines and large warehouses. This article will seek to describe some ways that the effective use of distribution software along with Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) can enhance the overall efficiency of an organization's distribution and fulfillment process.

Generally, distribution software is software that extends through much of an organization from order capture to purchasingto fulfillent. There are several places in this process where PDAs can be used in conjunction with distribution software to reap significant benefits. The areas that this article will describe will be the storing products, delivery and fulfillment of products, and for sales representatives and order capture. The following paragraphs will outline each of these areas in additional detail.

One of the first places that distribution software and PDAs can be used effectively is in the warehouse. Warehouses that have many different products and encompass a lot of space might benefit more from the use of distribution software. Basically barcodes or barcode stickers can be attached to pallets of inventory or even individual cartons when they arrive in the warehouse. Each carton will be scanned using a PDA once the products arrive in the warehouse and will be assigned a space by the distribution software. Moreover, whenever a carton or unit is "picked," that carton will be scanned to ensure that the correct item is being shipped out.

This is especially helpful for shipping the correct items, for tracking inventory, and for arranging space in the warehouse so that each type of product is stored in the optimal position. Moreover, this accurate inventory count that is kept in the distribution software will also benefit forecasting and will assist the purchasing department in knowing what to reorder since the distribution software keeps a record in real time of each type of inventory and the quantity available.

Another area that distribution software and PDA can be helpful is in the fulfillment of the order. PDAs can be used to scan packages when they leave the warehouse. This serves a double check and also tells the distribution software, and the rest of the company, when the products left the warehouse. In addition, for companies that work closely with logistics companies, PDAs can help in the delivery or transport process. When drivers deliver the product, they can scan to product to make sure it was delivered to the customer and to obtain proof of delivery. This information is then transferred to the distribution software.

Sales personnel can also access the distribution software using a PDA.

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